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Actress Sai Pallavi compares the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus with stray incidents of violence against cattle smugglers, faces backlash from netizens

In the interview, to prove that she is politically neutral, Sai Pallavi tried to assert that 'violence' though she does not endorse it, has to be understood with some perspective. She tried to claim that Naxal violence is something that only happened in the distant past because maybe those people (Naxals) thought there is no other way to protect their people.

On June 13, a portion of an interview of actress Sai Pallavi with Great Andhra went viral on social media platforms, where she compared the brutal genocide of Kashmiri Hindus with stray incidents of violence against cattle smugglers, in her attempt to prove she is ‘politically neutral’.

In the interview, Pallavi said she believes that the killings of Kashmiri Hindus and the attack on Muslim cattle smugglers were the same, and both should not have happened. Her remarks drew sharp criticism from netizens.

What did Sai Pallavi say?

During the interview in Telugu, the interviewer asked about her views on the political division of the society between the right-wing and left-wing and incidents of violence around them. Sai Pallavi said it is her personal opinion that violence as a form of communication is wrong. “Everyone’s perspective is different based on their environment. It is very hard for me to understand the concept of violence. It is very difficult for us to say what is right and what is wrong.”

She added, “They (Naxals) thought at that time that they could only get justice by violence. It happened in the past, long back. Our perspectives may be different. Pakistani people think Indian security forces are terrorists, we think the same for their forces. It is very difficult to say whether it (the Naxal movement) is right or wrong. It depends on the situation at that time. They thought violence was the only way, as per their situation.”

Sai Pallavi is playing the role of a Naxal in her upcoming movie Virata Parvam. Bahubali fame is Rana Daggubati is opposite Pallavi in the movie, he plays the Naxal leader that Pallavi’s character falls in love with.

The interviewer asked if she had experienced leftist movements during her college days. She said, “If I was from a Leftist family or from a Rightist family, then maybe I would have favoured one side, but I was raised in a neutral family where they taught you to have to be a good human being. The oppressed should be protected irrespective of left-wing and right-wing. I grew up in a neutral environment. I heard about this left-wing and right-wing, but we can’t say who is right and who is wrong.”

Speaking about The Kashmir Files, a film by filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, Pallavi said, “In Kashmir Files movie, they showed how Kashmiri Pandits were killed.” She drew a parallel between the killings of Kashmiri Hindus, the brutal attacks on the Hindu community in the valley and the attack on cattle smugglers by locals. She said, “But recently in covid time, some Muslim guy taking a cow in a vehicle was attacked and forced to chant Jai Shri Ram slogans. So if you are talking about religious conflict, what is the difference between the two incidents? That happened then, this happened now. What is the difference? The thing is, we should stay fair and just. If we are not good humans, we won’t be just. If you are just and stand with justice, all will be ‘neutral’ around you.”

Netizens react to Sai Pallavi’s statement

Twitter user Incognito_qfs said, “After all the balancing & being neutral & good human being talks…. Sai Pallavi ended up comparing the killings of innocent Kashmiri Pandits with the killings of cow smugglers. thinks Muslims treat Kashmiri Land as their mother so they went after Kashmiri Pandits. Who will tell her the exact reason why Kashmiri Pandits were killed?”

Another Twitter user BattaKashmiri said, “Dear Sai Pallavi, there is a huge difference between a random Muslim being beaten & an entire community being uprooted. Please don’t trivialise my pain. Come and see any of our broken homes & hearts. We are witnesses to Genocide but await justice. Not Everything is Propaganda.”

Another user Pawan Durani had different thoughts. He assumed Pallavi did not know what exactly happen to Kashmiri Pandits and invited her to visit refugee camps. said, “I don’t carry hatred for Sai Pallavi, many in India have not been aware of what happened to us, as a community … Her equating us with cow smugglers is probably unintentional. I invite her to our refugee camps for better understanding May God keep her blessed.

Twitter user Parveen Reddy said, “Dear Sai Pallavi, without knowing what has happened, please stop lecturing or trying to relate the incidents to the Kashmiri exodus. There is a huge difference. Stop being a hypocrite.”

The problem with Sai Pallavi’s statement

There are two aspects of the statement given by Sai Pallavi during her interview. First, she asserted that Naxal violence happened only in the past when there was a lack of law and order. She tried to assert that the Naxals no longer kill people or destroy infrastructures in the internal Naxal-affected areas. However, the statement contradicts reality. Though it is true that the Naxal terrorism threats have been diminished, it is rather misleading and dishonest to claim that Naxals became violent somewhere in the long past and that was the only means they had to protect their people. Naxals have always been brutal and violent, have tried to weaponise Indians living in the hinterlands against the government and are to date continuing their violent attacks.

In May 2022, a conspiracy to attack Cobra Battalion was neutralised in Sukma, Chattisgarh. As per reports, if the blast had happened, there would have been multiple casualties. In April 2022, Naxals killed Police personnel in broad daylight in the Bijapur district. Till June 12, at least 16 such incidents were reported in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, where seven civilians and three Special Forces personnel were killed. Six Naxals were also neutralised in these incidents.

Also, Pallavi asserted that Hindus getting killed in the Kashmir valley was a thing of the past. The genocide of Kashmiri Hindus was not limited to the exodus from Srinagar in 1990, but has happened before that and is continuing to date. Recently, OpIndia reported that 10 Hindus were killed in the span of 36 weeks in the valley by terrorists. Makhan Lal Bindroo, Virendra Paswan, Satinder Kaur, Deepak Chand, Arbind Kumar Sah, Surinder Kumar Singh, Rahul Bhat, Ranjit Singh, Ranji Bala and Vijay Kumar lost their lives just because they were Hindus living or working in Kashmir. Hindus are being targeted in the valley, and suggesting otherwise will be equal to acting like an ostrich.

Further, Sai Pallavi tried to compare the genocide of an entire ethnic community, which was achieved by Islamists in the valley with explicit help and funding from Pakistan, with stray incidents of violence where cattle smugglers (in most of the cases, smugglers were Muslims who slaughter the animals for meat) stealing cows were stopped and beaten by locals.

Cattle smuggling is an organised crime operational all over India where the victims are poor farmers who depend on the cattle for their livelihood.

Cow protection groups, Bajrang Dal, VHP and local Police, have been working extensively to stop such smugglers from stealing cows for slaughter not only for religious reasons but also because of the fact that these cows provide a livelihood to the owners and in most of the states in India cow slaughter is a punishable offence.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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